A LESSON IN KINDNESS

person holding a handful of blossoms

There is the power of great change in kindness. It’s a gift we give the world. And it is ours to choose whether to give it or to let it dissolve inside of us and never reach out beyond our own hearts. Today let’s talk about being kind!

I got an early start one day last week and found myself at our local grocery store before 10 cars were in the parking lot!

I love getting to the grocer’s when all the carts are neatly stacked up and the line and the deli counter isn’t three deep.

It’s almost exhilarating to wander down empty isles with a cup of my first coffee of the day in hand.

I did not have many items to get, so I grabbed what I needed and headed to the “15 items or less” check-out line. I guess it was just out of habit I chose that line because the other check-outs weren’t busy at all! But more likely, it was the compliant side of me. If it says “15 items or less” then, of course, that’s where I should be!  

As I loaded my 12 items onto the counter I noticed a sweet looking, very young man behind the cash register wearing a smart white shirt and a navy, white, and purple striped tie, and a shiny name tag that said “Jason”.

As he acknowledged me I said, “Good morning, Jason”. He gave me a sorta smile and looked up from under his black-rimmed glasses.

I am a morning person! Always have been and probably will always be. I wake up happy to meet each day.

I grew up in a very divided home when it came to mornings! My dad was a morning kind of a guy. I can still see him sitting at the kitchen table already sipping his coffee and reading the paper as I came down in the morning. “Morning, darlin’!” (he was southern, bless his darlin’ heart!) He would say in the happiest of happy southern voices!

My mother was not always ready to be cheerful in the morning. She was quiet in the morning. She liked to ease into the day without greetings, discussions or any human interaction for that matter. I must say though, she did embrace mornings once the kids were all out of the house. Hmmm, I wonder if we had anything to do with that?

Daddy and I would talk and discuss the world’s problems and joke and laugh, something that my mother could never understand! 

But I digress back to the grocery store. As Jason was pushing my 12 items past the barcode thingy I mentioned his nice tie, “Jason, what a handsome looking tie you have on”. He looked a little surprised and then a slow sweet smile overtook his face. “Thanks”, he said. And then added, “I thought I should wear a tie when I came to work. I bought another tie so I wouldn’t have to wear the same one every day”.

Oh my goodness, I thought that was so cute I just wanted to hug the stuffin’ out of him! I didn’t because I thought that might be weird and a little scary! But he was just so stinkin’ cute!!!

He went on to ask me if I knew how to get the crinkle at the top of his tie out and I told him that I thought his tie looked perfect and that was just the way ties were. I told him that when I was a young girl I went to a Scottish boarding school and had to wear a tie like his every day. This intrigued him. And because there was no one in line behind me we chatted for a couple of minutes.

Then he said the sweetest thing! “You are so kind”.  

What a darling thing to say. Then he said, “Not everyone is kind.”

This took me back a little. “Well, shame on them if they aren’t”, I replied. And he said in a soft voice as I put my bag into my cart, “You’d be surprised how many people aren’t nice when they’re shopping. I guess it’s just the way things are.”

I actually left the grocery store a little sad. I was sad that Jason, the smartly dressed young clerk with two ties, had to work in a 15-items-or-less check out line where people came and went all day sometimes treating him less than nice. I was sad that people act that way. I was sad about what made people act that way. I was sad that “it’s just the way things are”. I was sad that life’s reality had smacked down my bluebird-of-happiness-kind-of-a-day!

I’ve really been thinking about my encounter with Jason and the fact that kindness is such an arbitrary commodity.

Kindness is valuable and powerful and has the ability to make a great difference in other’s lives, and in our own! Why then, is it often given so miserly.

I believe God when he says Satan is the ruler of this world. At least, for now! I believe that all people come into this world not good but broken because of sin.

I also believe and know that in our own power we cannot be consistently and sacrificially kind. How do I know this? Because I know me and believe what the bible says!

But I also believe that God gives us the power, His power, to be kind. 

BUT THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS AND SELF-CONTROL Galatians 5:22-23

When the Holy Spirit takes up residence and we give Him control over our lives, only then can we live a life of on-going kindness. He brings great power to our lives so that we can live in godliness no matter what our circumstance at any time may be. The fruit, or visible attribute, of kindness, will pour from us!

Believe me, I lived decades without Christ’s salvation and with no Holy Spirit kindness in my life. Selfishness marked those years. I would never again want to live my life before Jesus came into it.

Oh, I could be kind and cheerful, but only when I was feeling that way. Back then kindness was not a way of life.

Even now, I sometimes mess us and don’t live out my God-bought-freedom-from-sin life. But, I can get right back on track and continue on! I have a powerhouse living inside of me!

How about you? Do you have the power to live the life God has created you to live? Are you the person God made you to be?

There is so much power to live a life of goodness and kindness and joy in spite of our circumstances. Let’s live our real, God-given lives. It will bless us and everyone we meet!

Here’s a verse to think about…

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Col 3:12

person holding a handful of blossoms

89 Comments

  1. Not trying to pat myself on the back, but when I see a name tag I always mention the name…the clerks are usually surprised by this and always smile. I am always taken aback by those on their phones who do not stop talking while checking out or ordering at the deli…common courtesy goes a long way.

  2. Every act of kindness we perform helps to build God’s Kingdom. Your posting reminds us to live our lives intentionally so that we reflect God’s love in all our daily interactions. God bless you.

    1. Susan, your first sentence just stopped me in my tracks….it really sums up how we should be thinking all the time. Thank you for sharing that beautiful statement.

  3. This really touched me because I have such a desire to be kind to clerks (waiters/waitresses, etc). If I have a grocery clerk that is generally not friendly, I always wonder if something sad or stressful is going on in their life and it makes me more determined to be friendly. Usually I will ask them if they have had a busy day or mention something I think is pretty on them (nails, hair) and their demeanor will almost always change. If they tell me that they have had a really rough day, I will say “I’m sorry” and usually will say that I will be praying for them. One day I found out that a coworker had been killed the night before and when I was saying how sorry I was and telling them that I would be praying for all of them and their difficult day, several other clerks came over and we all stood there for a moment talking (they were not busy at the time). It is like a little mission field. I am terrible with names but one thing I want to develop in myself is to remember names and to call them by name each time I go there. I have actually gone out to eat with someone who says they are a Christian but treated the restaurant staff so rudely that it completely ruined her testimony in my eyes – of course I never said anything to her about it and I should have. I really feel every time our toe goes out the door, we enter a mission field with all kinds of opportunities. Since I am compassionate about this – I just loved your post! 🙂

  4. Bluebird Happeniness kind of day. Love that. I’m always greeting sales people. And if the response is indifferent. So be it. A smile and saying their name does go a long way. I’m like your mom in the mornings. Can’t think, need coffee! But as I grow older, I’m noticing the little everyday grateful things in life, like life itself. Kathleen in Az

  5. Thanks for this reminder of the importance of being kind and especially as a Christian. I am shy and therefore don’t usually strike up conversation with any check-out clerks but you’ve given me incentive to get past my inhibitions and think about how the other person is feeling. If only “Jason” would read your post and know what an inspiration he was to you and your readers! God definitely works in many varied ways! Hope you have a wonderful Sunday!

  6. Have you ever read the book ” Nickled and Dimed in America”? It’s about the working class in our country and how they struggle. After reading that book, I chat with the cashiers. It lets them know they are special. I have to admit, though, that it is hard at Kroger where they are talking to their co-workers or reading their phones while running the register, but I do it!!!

  7. I always try to say hello and ask “How Are You Today” to everyone. It amazes others when they ask me how I am and I always reply “Super”. They are so use to hearing fine or ok, so when I say “Super” with an enthusiastic voice, they always stop and look at me. Then I get a smile.

  8. You are a good person, Yvonne, and I’m sure Jason will remember your kindness. When I have come across lovely young people like him, I make sure to tell the manager what a wonderful experience I have had in their store because of “insert name”. You would be surprised how much even the manager appreciates hearing that about an employee. I figure if people took the same time to compliment as they do to complain it might help make someone’s day a little brighter. I loved your story!

  9. What a great post! It is amazing what a small act of kindness or a simple smile can do to someone’s day…Jason will remember this forever.
    Judy
    judypimperl.blogspot.com

  10. I have often said to my children (and others) that everyone should have to experience working in retail and in food service to see what it’s really like. I’ve worked (and owned) in retail, and it’s amazing to me how rude people can be. I always greet the people who are helping me, whether it’s waitstaff or a grocery checker, and always thank them for their help and service. If there’s a problem, I approach it the way I would like to be approached, not rudely or cruelly. Your blog post today has made my day!

  11. Thank you, Yvonne, for a truly inspirational post. I needed to read something with just this message today-I always tell my children it takes the same amount of time and effort (actually probably LESS effort!) to be kind to someone as it does to be rude and unthoughtful. And the outcomes from the choice you make can really make a difference to the other person and be far-reaching. Spread the kindness!

  12. Always be a little kinder than necessary ! A worthy goal beautifully expressed during your encounter with Jason.

  13. What a wonderful story to remind us of an ever important beatitude. Hope you have a wonderful week spreading your love and joy. I too am a morning person at 4:00 a.m. with daily devotions – can’t start my day without it

  14. Yvonne – The Holy Spirit is alive and well in you. Sometimes God does work in mysterious ways and sometimes He works in simple, straightforward ways. The simple acts of a smile and a caring comment are about as basic as it gets, but as meaningful, too.
    Linda @ A Toile Tlae

  15. Kindness is powerful…it’s that smile you give to someone when you probably don’t really feel like smiling…it’s dropping that little bit of change in the tin cup of someone who is down and out…it’s going out of your way to be nice to someone. Everyone should be kind and the world would be a lot happier. I am so glad I don’t have to concentrate on being kind…it’s doing what Jesus would do in all circumstances. Thank you for your lovely Sunday post…we need to share good things more often and continue to be a light in a cold, dark world. Greater is he who is in us than he that is in the world…

  16. What a blessing your Sunday post has been to me!! And also a challenge – to remember with just a few kind words and thoughts, we could change the outcome of someone’s day, or definitely change their outlook! What a testimony you were to Jason that morning…… Praying God will use me and give me opportunities as I greet greeters, cashiers, salespersons, etc. Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration.
    Blessings,
    Lanita

  17. Your kindness to young Jason will not go unnoticed !! I have always believed that kindness is contagious. :^) I also have always believed that you should never look down on anyone regardless of what their job was. The garbage man is just as worthy of one’s kindness and love as a CEO of a major company. We taught our children this as well — that they were to honor everyone. My grandfather always told me that “he wouldn’t trade troubles with anyone”. We never know what those who are checking out our groceries or waiting on our table is going through. We all need to practice Jesus’ love and kindness for all.

    Your message today was surely a blessing to many !!!

  18. Fabulous post! I always want to be the person that shows an interest in others, no matter who it is. Everyone likes to know that someone is interested in them and so many folks are only interested in themselves. Kindness cost nothing but effort and what a better world we would have it everyone showed it a whole lot more. Happy week!

  19. I agree with Joyce and have always said that you can tell when someone has worked in public service before. They have respect for people who are there to help the public.
    Isn’t it really about treating others as we want to be treated. And don’t we want to be treated with respect and kindness. And doesn’t it feel so incredible big when you do something even so small to be kind. It takes so much less effort to be nice than it does to be cruel.

    Loved your comment about hugging the stuffing out of Jason. A true indicator of a big heart.

  20. Beautiful post, Yvonne, and I so agree with you, we do need more kindness in this world. We just don’t know what each other are going through and sometimes just a smile can brighten someones day. The love of Jesus shines through you so clearly! 🙂
    Blessings,
    Shelia 😉

  21. Beginning two years ago, I not only made kind and uplifting, affirming comments to others I encountered in various ways, as i always had done, but then I began to take or rather make the time to call and obtain the name and address of that person’s supervisor or business owner (or both) and wrote a detailed letter in regards to the person whom I encountered. I was amazed at the change that occurred within myself, as well as if I encountered that person again, what may have occurred in their life as well. I know our lives are so very busy and demanding, but our time is indeed our own, and why not begin to choose additional ways in which to make it more intentional and representative of who we really profess to be? Your wonderful post reminded me that 2015 is yet another year to “make” my time choices make a difference in someone’s life (in addition to being a college professor and living as fully as I can as a daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend, colleague, etc. ). Thank you again!!

  22. How sweet! I’m a morning person also, and I just love engaging in conversation with people like you did. You never know, sometimes you just might turn a grumpy person around and, obviously, you were able to help this young man. Just think how he was probably really concerned about his appearance enough to ask your advice – I love that aspect. Service work is definitely one of the hardest jobs – just ask any person who takes care of their home or has hosted a party or cleans a house! For those who do it for a living, I am most appreciative, but it sometimes bothers me to be with others – family or friends, doesn’t matter – when one of them is rude to or put out with a service worker’s (seemingly) lack of attention to them. I think if we would all be just a little more patient with and observant of others, we’d see that maybe that worker was super slammed with customers, or had some other reason not to be what one expected. Even if I don’t like how something is handled, I try to be nice in how I mention it, if at all, and always try to engage in a conversation that’s not condescending. Good post, good lesson.

  23. Your Sunday posts are encouraging and valuable. Satan plans to destroy us and our world, but we can overcome him by sharing Christ’s love for us with others everyday, every place, with everyone.

  24. I find that a smile usually gets a smile. Whether or not I am who God wants me to be I don’t know, but what I do know is that He loves me just the way I am.

  25. Wow! You are so right on! Didn’t it make you feel good to know you touched this young man in such a powerful way, yet it was something easy and simple to do. My husband and I work with neglected children, and their outlook on life is so dark and dismal because this is what has been played out for them. In fact, they really don’t know how to respond to kindness. The TV and movies they have been allowed to watch, set the tone for what they believe. I’m sad to say that usually means a very dark world!! We share the gospel with them and try as best we can to show God’s love to them. We love what we do because we have a God who loves us and wants us to share that love with as many as possible. You are a talented and gifted lady, I enjoy your blog so much! You have taught me much! May you continue to share your heart with everyone God sends your way!

  26. What a great post Yvonne, made me think of the days I wore my tie to school! Jason will go far especially since he recognizes life lessons. I have to say. Here in Jacksonville, all cashiers are polite, southern and it encourages a like response. Mine goes like this. After being asked how I am, I say “fine Thank you. How are you”. “They say fine today, Thank you for asking”. I say, “That is great, that is very important”! They will then reply. “You have a wonderfully day.”
    A whole new dialog will open up. A smile is the one thing that will always be returned. ” You all have a Blessed day.” Mary

  27. Thanks so much for this, Yvonne! God said we are supposed to be a light for him and let our light some for him. What you have described is a perfect example. Thank you for your influence and for being a witness for the things of God.

  28. What a sweet sweet post and WONDERFUL reminder of the importance of being kind.

    My experience with the grocery and lack of kindness is seldom people who are hungry – really hungry- are kind.

    I wish your new “friend” Jason all the very best, he sounds like a true sweetheart. I love nice, don’t you?

    Funny, my dad and I were the only 2 out of 7 who were morning people. I loved your memories of that, been there, done that.

    Oh what I would give to have him with me in the morning. /sniff

    God bless, Yvonne!

  29. I believe in being kind and smiling at everyone you meet. You just never know what the other person is facing in their life, so I try to give everyone the benefit of doubt. I’ve tried to teach my children to be the same way, and I must admit when my kids were in school and I went to parent teacher conferences I was always so proud to hear them tell me what kind kids I had. Kindness matters- it just does- and it’s free! Why not give it away to everyone you meet?

  30. This was a great reminder that even the smallest comments can bring a smile or break someone’s heart. I will do my best each day to bring a smile to someone and hopefully they will pass that along. Thank you for the sweet story and for being the kind person in life!

  31. Yvonne, I love you so very much. You are such an inspiration and I love reading your devotionals, seeing what you post on decorating and wishing you were my BFF living right next door. God has truly blessed you with goodness and talent.

  32. Happy Sunday Yvonne…thank you for your words of inspiration!
    When I retired from my job in 2013, I wrote an email note to my colleagues asking them to smile at each of their colleagues every morning, as you never know what someone is going through on any given day! I received back an overwhelming response of emails or phone calls wishing me well in my retirement!! It truly was overwhelming. I hope that they will always remember me in that way! Have a blessed day and please say hello to Jason for me!! Best regards…Barb

  33. I was blessed with a wonderful, godly mother-in-law who told me it was always her goal when encountering a sad or testy or cranky store clerk to be kind and affirming of them and “win” them over and bring a smile to their face. I thought that was so beautiful. Very similar message as yours.

  34. Wonderful post. Sometimes my son goes with me to the grocery store and he always addresses the clerks with a nice greeting and asks how their day is. He is also a morning person, lol. Dealing with the public these days has to be challenging at best. Why so many people are rude I don’t understand. I wasn’t raised that way nor did I raise my children that way.

  35. My husband and I always try to be kind and have a conversation with checkers, waiters/waitresses, etc. When we can remember, we ask the waiter or waitress if there’s anything we can pray for them about when we say a quiet prayer over our food (learned this from a friend). We’ve never had anyone be rude to us, most have a request, and once or twice the waitress has grabbed our hands and prayed with us – isn’t that special? We are to be light everywhere we go. Thank you for this post; we all need to be reminded.

      1. Yvonne, I so needed a reminder how important Kindness is to our Christian life. My temper can be so quick to flare with strangers and even my loved ones. A sharp tongue is the tool of Satan. I pray on a daily basis for Jesus to help me to pause before I speak. God bless you and your spreading of God’s word and his plan for us.

  36. Dear Yvonne, this sweet story brought a tear to my eyes, thank you for sharing it. I know that sometimes when I am in a hurry I may treat people thoughtlessly and this is just the reminder I need!
    I tried to get the names of God printable but it sent through Proverbs 31_28 instead?
    God bless you, I always enjoy all your posts and just love your beautiful home!

  37. Dear Yvonne,
    I am always amazed that God brings things into our lives just when we need them most. This lesson today is what I needed today, this moment in my life. It is a lesson I needed to be reminded of, my sinful heart and the power of the Holy Spirit. I have chronic illnesses that when in flareups, medicine changes, fatigue or life’s additional stress I can become frustrated and grumpy. So I pretty much constantly battle this attitude. Seems I have been in this mode for a few months now and remembering who I am in Christ is what I need. Thank you so much for your willingness to share the lessons that God puts on your heart each week for He knows His children that needs it this week. Blessings, Esther

    1. Hi Ester, don’t be too hard on yourself. I know exactly what you are going through, my friend! God bless you and may He give you comfort and joy!

  38. Yvonne, I just loved your story, look forward to your Sunday posts and the positive light you exude. Thank you many times over.

  39. Wonderful Sunday message. It makes our hearts smile when we spread God’s love and share His kindness. These are gifts we are called to share ?

  40. Being kind is the heart and soul of being a decent human being. I was fortunate in that I was born into a loving, kind, generous family, of which I am the last surviving member. Not everyone is that lucky, and I believe that it deeply influenced how I treat other living beings…all species. Along with being kind is having manners, like saying thank you, please and excuse me and being sincere about it. I have a wonderful husband that treats me with love and respect, and a beautiful grown daughter who is the apple of my eye. I’m one lucky person and am thankful every day for it.

  41. What a precious story about Jason! And, a wonderful message..such a good reminder too! God bless you ? I love your Sunday messages

  42. I have always believed that a nice smile, an attitude of kindness and caring makes a great difference. I’ve also felt like calling someone by their name makes them feel good. It gives them a sense of being someone special rather than just another person in a day of many people. Even if I’m upset about something or feeling bad that doesn’t give me the right to dump my poor attitude on others. We should all live more like Christ and do unto others kindly!!

  43. Beautiful message, Yvonne. Would you ever consider writing a post about how to be kind and also have strong, healthy boundaries? This has been on my mind of late.

  44. Thank you for using your gifts and talents to bless us! I came to your site for Home Decor inspiration and ended up under Sunday Scripture. I think the Lord wanted me to read this today. It encouraged my heart!

  45. I enjoy putting on those ‘clothes’ but sometimes due to distractions, they get misplaced. Because of God’s mercy, they are available once again the next day though. Lovely post and thanks for sharing.

  46. I love this story! It’s a good reminder to be compassionate also. Every day I find 3 things on which to compliment others. That keeps me focused on others and that keeps me positive. I have always been a positive person, so it’s not hard for me to be positive, but some people really make it challenging with their negativity, stupidity, and, well, you know people like that.
    Thank you for this sweet story, I always give service people compliments and tell their bosses how good that service person is/was. Most people ONLY complain when something goes wrong in their world, especially with service people; I make an effort to compliment them no matter what.
    Our world is nuts. People need to stop looking down (on their cell phones) and start looking up and out. Put the d*m cell phones down, go outside, do a kindness for an elderly neighbor. Just do it! ?

  47. Thoughtful! I just moved to Colorado last year and have discovered how kind and polite people are here. So refreshing and really opens my heart, It causes me to be more aware and also kind.

  48. It takes so little to be kind. I always acknowledge the sales clerks/cashiers. If you give a smile you get one back.

  49. What a powerful message! If each one of us would be more kind to those we come into contact with, what a better world we would have. My prayer is that God would give me more opportunities to show love and kindness. Praise Him for His spirit lives in me.

  50. Great post. I always look forward to your posts. I wish more people knew Jesus. This world just keeps getting crazier and crazier. Hugs to you.

  51. I was at the hardware store this week purchasing paint, and there was a sign posted at the counter stating that they won’t tolerate abusive treatment towards staff. I was shocked & sad. What kind of rude customers have these poor workers had to deal with? Yes we can have some bad days when we may be rushed or going through some personal trauma, but don’t leave home without your manners. I think people shows their true character by how they treat grocery clerks, restaurant staff etc

  52. So true, Yvonne. Kindness can be a gift to others. When my daughter was in school, particularly high school, I encouraged her to be kind and just smile at others, as you never knew what their circumstances were or their morning send off. After graduation, one of her friends told her that she looked forward to those daily smiles and words of encouragement to get through each day, as her home life was miserable, and my daughter, unknowingly, kept her from total discouragement.

  53. Thank you Yvonne for this word and passage from Galatians . After a terrible year , I wondered if as a Christian I could be too kind and taken advantage of . He answered me in a wonderful way and gave me the scripture concerning the Fruit of the Spirit . It is who He is and if I am being changed into His likeness , then I can never be too kind or anything else that pertains to His character, regardless of how others treat me . As you wrote , that type of kindness is not of ourselves .

  54. Well, I guess your mom and I have something in common. I’m definitely not a morning person! I try. When I get up I have my coffee on the front porch with my dogs (we live in Texas so that can happen almost all year long). Somewhere in there God speaks to me first, and I talk with Him and tell Him how grateful I am to be awake, and ask for Him to focus my mind on what He has planned for me that day. I love being kind to people! And there are a few out there who make it hard to be kind to them, but then the looks on their faces when I am is wonderful to watch, and gives me hope that they will pass that kindness on.

  55. Yvonne,
    I loved your Sunday post as always. However, I had to laugh out loud when I reached the end of your post and the scripture. I had just posted that verse on my refrigerator to work on memorize this week! God works in mysterious ways.

  56. I easily to slipped into your story. Your morning and encounter were portrayed beautifully. Thank you.

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